SM had a modest turnout, actually all the classes were a little thin, except for Formula 500/600. They had a Pro series start this weekend and I believe 11-12 started on Saturday, not sure on Sunday as only 5 or 6 finished the Saturday race. Serious mechanical attrition in that class.
It was a local only show for the most part for SM and the weather couldn't have been better on Saturday. I know MSRH isn't on too many peoples favorite track list but disappointed in the turnout. I think the Majors platform has taken its toll on divisional races and people don't seem to be willing to travel for double regionals.
Enough of the prologue, on to the racing.
Having to do this by memory as race monitor didn't have the correct data.
Alex Bachoura 1:48.221
Caesar Vielmas 1:48.307
M. Ross 1:48.315
Mike Snow and Jason Glover were up there as well just don't remember their times off the top of my head.
The race started about 20 minutes late as the wreckers were struggling to clear the summer time snowmobiles off the track.
I got a good start and was able to push Alex in front of Caesar and into turn 1 and that allowed me to slip in also. I got a good run on Alex going into Diamonds Edge and came out of it with the lead which slowed Alex enough for Caesar to get a run on him also. My lead was short lived as I missed the shift to 3rd coming out of Diamonds Edge and found 5th gear several times. This allowed Caesar and Alex by and also bunched up the field a bit. In chase mode now I was frustrated by the mistake and was determined to get back to the lead as soon as possible. I was able to get by Alex out of the carousel as his car's rear was washing out mid corner and I laid back and got the run necessary to pass before we get to the end of the straight. Caesar had a decent gap on me at this point and really clean lap to catch back up. The next lap I was glued to his bumper and attacked at the end of the back straight and we raced side by side through the last two turns. I was able to hold the inside line as we headed to turn 1 which forced Caesar to fall in line and chase. I ran as clean and fast as could for the next 3 laps trying to gap Caesar and was making some headway when the dreaded 2-5 happened again. This allowed him to grab back on and he was determined not to let go again. I used up my tires trying to break him off and by lap 10 i was running purely defensive at the end of the carousel straight as the the 1.6 would eat me alive until we got to the brake zone. We started lapping traffic and I was doing my best to rub Caesar off on one of the lappers to get some breathing room. I had no luck as we never caught any of them in a truly compromising corner. I tried to get my tires to cool down and come back to me and by lap 15 they were ready for a little more abuse, which was good because Caesar was also saving tires for one last charge. We came up on another round of lapped traffic and I was finally able to park him going into the bus stop, which allowed me to cruise home the last lap for the victory.
Congrats to Caesar and Alex on the podium finishes in a hard fought race.
Caesar was a no show for qualifying and this shuffled the starting order a little bit.
My tires had given up from the day before and I went out in qaul thinking i would just rip off a 48.0 in a couple of laps and come in. It was not to be, the tires never built up pressure above 34.5 and I had to work my ass off to get to the mid 48s. I ran a nearly perfect lap on my 5th lap and the best I could squeeze out was the 48.475.
Caesar shows up to grid and tells us that he skipped the qual to go ride his bike and get a little exercise. "How far did you ride", oh 85 miles. WTF. I used to ride quite a bit doing triathlons and putting in that type of effort in the morning and then coming to race in the heat of the day without a cool shirt would be very difficult. I prayed for his safety and after the day before was glad he was starting at the back of the grid.
I knew my tires were going to be horrible early, middle and late and knew that the second I made a mistake I might never see the lead again. The only place my car was good was out of the keyhole and over the launch, everywhere else, especially the carousel was a constant dance on the edge of disaster.
I took the lead into turn 1 and spend the next 30 minutes using every piece of the track and every trick i knew to keep Alex behind me. He ran super clean and almost had me a time or two. Again lapped traffic would come into play and I was looking for a little help. The last lap we came up on a lapper as we neared the entry into the single file back part of the track. The lapper was about a second ahead of my and I knew i could catch him before the critical exit at the launch. I paced him through the keyhole, which caught Alex off guard and caused a nudge, which i completely understood, I had to gather up the car a bit which let the lapper get over the launch clean with me and Alex following close behind. The lapper tracks out right and stays tight and points me by but never lifts. I am dead along side of him as the track starts to come back to us in a little kink that sets up the last brake zone. I am pot committed and won't lift and I am praying this guy doesn't jink or lose it into me trying to get track left. I slide by and hit the brake zone and know that Alex got pinned by him just enough to allow me to ease it around the last turns an take the win my just under a half second. Caesar was able to get through the field but was 10 seconds back at the finish for third.
Its never easy winning a Spec Miata race at any level. I feel very fortunate to have been able to win both days and if Caesar had qualified on Sunday I doubt I could have held off both of them. Alex is a talented up and comer in our class and is getting the race craft he needs to be truly fasts. Caesar has driven very well the last three weekends we have raced and would do some damage in a lot of fields if he were able to afford the time away from work to drive more tracks.
Can't say enough about he X-Factor powered and built 22. The car is stud and makes driving at the front a pleasure. I have lead 57 of the 63 laps i have raced in the previous 2 race weekends. I attribute much of that to the car and car prep. Driving a well set up car allows for a much more relaxed drive in the lead and lets you commit to looking forward and hitting your marks.
Thanks again to Chis Haldeman of X-Factor Racing, Pat and Karen Ross for the undying support for this fun but often too expensive hobby. Thank you to my wife Jill for letting me go out and play with my friends.
TWS in two weeks. Even though the field is small, as of today only 17, I think about 8 drivers will have a chance at the victory. If some of the hot shoes from out of state show up that number could grow.